Gazebo Canopy – Outdoor Comfort for Your Backyard
A gazebo canopy can help to create a beautiful and useful addition to any yard. Whether on the patio or out in the garden, a gazebo can make you feel right at home in the outdoors. Where to begin can be the toughest step in choosing the one that is right for you though. There are so many variations on the concept, and so many different types of products that seem to run together on features, that it's really helpful to set down the features you need, those that you want, and then pare down the options to just those that fit the bill.
When doing this you will find that even once you've got things manageable, there are quite a lot of options still. These options will tend to be on the pricing or aesthetics side, since you've already taken care of the functionality aspect of the decision. It's a delicate balancing act since generally as the feature set increases, so does price, and the look can vary almost randomly. Here we attempt to give some insights as to how to approach these decisions, and perhaps to illuminate some issues that may not have been considered yet.
Use of Your Gazebo Canopy
As noted above, the intended use of your gazebo canopy can play a big role in the decision making process. Gazebo canopies are very versatile and can be used in many ways, but not all products will be suitable for all purposes. Some are light weight and portable and make a welcome companion on any trip to the great outdoors, while others are very sturdy and can be moved around a bit, but are too heavy to really take out of the backyard or garden. Of course there is a lot of room in the middle to find a good compromise between the two extremes.
Sometimes though you don't want to move the gazebo much at all. This can be the case for a hot tub gazebo. In such cases the decision isn't so much about which type of canopy to buy, but to determine if a lightweight canopy is better than a more permanent structure made of wood or metal and with a shingle or metal roof. While hot tub and spa canopy gazebos do offer a lot of value, given the permanent location it's often better to build stronger so that it can resist the rougher weather conditions it might need to face from time to time.
Another situation that is much the same is with a patio gazebo. Since the canopy there will be providing nearly constant protection from the elements for patio furniture, it may make sense to simply leave it put. Doing so means that you can build more sturdy, and more aesthetically as well. A garden gazebo canopy would also be another area which this would apply. Perhaps that is why so many gazebos in the garden end up being wrought iron gazebos, which are certainly not very portable! This has the added benefit of not having to worry about replacement canopies for your gazebo over time.
Speaking of canopies, this is another area where your gazebo can differ greatly in it's functionality. A waterproof gazebo canopy can do wonders for your comfort outdoors in a rainstorm. Many "weatherproof" canopies aren't really up to the task though, and for fabric canopies in general, you need to maintain the waterproof protection as it will degrade over time. Of course even the most waterproof canopy fabric is going to let water in if it's torn, so it's doubly important to keep your gazebo's canopy in good condition.
Extending Functionality with Screens and Side Panels
Gazebos are very open structures that allow for a great outdoor look from inside and out. However this can be a drawback in the evenings and at night when the mosquitoes are on the prowl. An otherwise comfortable time outdoors can become a real annoyance because of these pests.
To deal with this, it's a good idea to invest in side panels or screens for your gazebo. With drop down screens you can easily stow away the protection when you don't need it, and it won't weigh you down so much as to make the gazebo canopy less portable. Then when you want to keep the biting insects out, you can just roll them out and you have a portable screened gazebo.
Gazebo side panels are a bit more heavy duty, and can help keep out rain as well as pests. Sometimes rain doesn't come straight down, when blown by the wind it can get underneath a canopy. With detachable side panels you can keep yourself dry whatever the weather. Also these side panels can serve as a shade or privacy screen for your gazebo. This way you can keep out the glare when the sun is low in the sky, or keep out of view of the neighbors' prying eyes.
Gazebo Canopy or Pop Up Tent
Sometimes in life we are presented with two very similar options that are difficult to chose between, and the choice between a canopy and pop up tent is one of those types of decisions. This is due in no small part to how similar the products are to each other. Both are designed to be lightweight and rather portable, and the function of each is also much the same. To create a shelter against the elements with minimal effort and materials. So which one is right for you?
Well, the answer to that question is going to be heavily influenced by a number of factors. Not the least of which is personal aesthetic sensibility. Which one looks best to you? Which one goes best with your house, landscaping, or other features that you plan to use the items in close proximity to? For many people this will be the overriding concern, in large part probably due to it being the easiest factor to evaluate. We just know what we like, right? You don't have to explain it, or do any math, you just know from looking at it. So this step is completely up to you and anyone else concerned about the particular look you are going for.
Aesthetics isn't the only place that an opinion can be derived from though. Functionality between the two is also a concern. With the main functionality being to easily set up an area that is protected from the elements such as the hot sun or wet rain. To some extent this can be a more objective factor to evaluate. Does a gazebo canopy create more shade than a pop up tent for the same amount of time and effort? Which one creates a better usable space in the interior? (This is one of the main reasons why we're not talking about regular beach umbrellas here too, since the pole being at the center really acts against that specific functionality. A drawback that offset umbrellas don't suffer from I should mention. But that's another article ... ) The answers to these sorts of questions can do a lot to determine which one is right for you.
For the answers to provide that insight though, you first have to decide for yourself which factors are most important. This way if there's a "split decision" where the selling points aren't all from one item, you can weight the factors and come to a conclusion based on those weightings. A gazebo canopy's greater interior space is approaching a round area, which doesn't always fit well with some types of furniture. On the other hand, the more regular shaped space of a square pop up tent is well suited to various arrangements, but not a circular patio table. (Although in that case the umbrella we mentioned earlier becomes perhaps the default choice, since the center is the best place for the support poles to be located given that no one is passing "through" the table anyways.) Is this more or less important to you than the fact that the pop up tent is easier to set up than the canopy?
In the end, it likely comes down to the aesthetics of a gazebo canopy against the ease of use of the pop up tent. Unless of course you find a pop up gazebo canopy, then you're really onto something!